With cherry harvest season on the horizon, the Creston Valley-Kootenay Lake Economic Action Partnership (EAP) announced that they have opened their domestic temporary worker camp, which is designed to support the local cherry industry and shield the community from COVID-19.
The camp — which is located at the Kozy RV Campground on Highway 3 in Erickson — will provide accommodations for up to 50 temporary workers for the duration of the cherry harvest season. Workers will be accommodated upon their arrival, as well as during the period where they are searching for work or when they are in between picking jobs at various cherry orchards.
“We are fortunate to have this overflow campground for our domestic temporary agricultural workers, who bring valuable skills that are critical to the success of the agricultural industry in the Creston Valley,” said Aaron Gregory, the community economic development coordinator for the action partnership. “With this camp, we can monitor and provide support to workers as well as educate them on new health and safety protocols.”
The camp received $60,000 from the province’s Ministry of Agriculture in June, which has been working alongside the EAP and Interior Health to ensure that the site meets the COVID-19 guidelines outlined by WorkSafeBC.
“The domestic temporary worker camp has met all the standards set out by the Ministry of Health and has followed all the guidelines,” said Brent Smith, an enforcement officer with the Ministry of Agriculture. “We are impressed with the level of preparedness that has been shown by the supervisors and project managers.”
Workers who checked into the camp earlier in the week were screened for COVID-19 upon arrival, and have undergone safety training.
Hand sanitizing stations are strewn throughout the site, and areas are regularly being cleaned by staff members multiple times a day. Camp supervisors are on-site to sign in workers and carry out COVID-19 screenings. Emergency plans have also been put in place to move any campers who show symptoms of COVID-19 to a separate location, where they can safely isolate for two weeks.
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